A Religious Experience
Ever since I knew that I'd be coming to Thailand, I've wanted to get a Sak Yant tattoo. This weekend, my dream finally became a reality.
What is a Sak Yant? Sak Yants are ancient Buddhist designs and prayers that are traditionally tattooed by an expert monk using a long bamboo rod. Now monks typically use a steel needle tip or a typical tattoo machine. These tattoos date back thousands of years. Each design is believed to offer different protections and blessings. The monk reads your aura and decides which protections that you need. From there, they decide the placement and design. There is a particular order that tattoos need to go in. For example, for your first tattoo there are only three design options. The most common is the Five Lines design.
Deanna, Laura and I decided to go to the most famous Sak Yant temple, Wat Bang Phra, which is about an hour west of Bangkok. Although Laura didn't want a tattoo, she still wanted to come and experience what it was like. Because we wanted to get to the temple early Saturday morning, we stayed in the Nakhon Pathom Province at a little place called the Hidden Holiday House. It was off the beaten path but one of the most beautiful places I've seen in Thailand so far.
On Friday, we took a bus to Bangkok and then took a bus from Victory Monument to Salaya, which cost us 23 baht. Once we were dropped off, we got a taxi which took us the 15 kilometers to Hidden Holiday House. There, we were greeted by the amazing couple that own it and their adorable dog, Susie. Because we didn't get there until about 10:30pm, we went to bed shortly after arriving.
The small hut we stayed in didn't have AC, only a fan, had a disconnected bathroom, and was right on the river. It almost felt like luxorious camping.
After showering, drinking coffee, and talking to the couple, we were on our way to Wat Bang Phra. Luckily, the owners of Hidden Holiday House arranged a tuk tuk to take us there.
*If you decide to get a Sak Yant at Wat Bang Phra and need a place to stay, we highly recommend Hidden Holiday House!*
We finally arrived around 7:15am. There were already several people waiting to be tattooed. We bought the offering outside of the temple which consisted of flowers, sticks of incense, and a carton of cigarettes. It cost us each 75 baht. Once we entered the temple, we set the offering and an additional 20 baht down for the monk to accept.
We sat on the temple floor and waited for the monk to arrive to begin tattooing. He arrived around 8:15, blessed our offerings, and began to tattoo visitors. After about an hour, it was our turn.
We were tattooed and blessed by Luang Phi Nunn, who is currently the most well known monk at the temple. One difference about him is that he uses a standard tattoo gun machine rather than the traditional bamboo rod.
Deanna and I both received the five lines design. Each line stands for the following: